|Kintampo waterfall, our driver, Fred, Carol and Solomon Sule Saa|
Thursday 27th January
Last night we were chatting in one of the nicely air-conditioned rooms at the guest house in Accra where we were staying- then we stepped outside the room into the hall and could not believe the heat. It was like being in a sauna – this was 10pm at night yet the temperature and the humidity were still very high. It seems that, rather than January, the months of August and September provide the best time climate-wise to visit Ghana for then the air is less humid and the temperature a bit more bearable.
We breakfasted and packed our bags ready for home although we still had the whole day in front of us before our flight at 2205hrs. Fred, who had been our driver for the first week when we were on our ‘road trip’ came and picked us up and took us into the headquarters. We were able to meet formally with the Clerk and thank him for the welcome and hospitality we had received. We were also able to endorse the benefit of the programme and the way in which we had been enabled to be at the grassroots of the church during our visit.
Then back in Fred’s vehicle and off to the other side of town where we had a meeting with Christian Aid, Ghana. This was a very fruitful and enlightening time where we were able to meet with the staff and in particular Rebecca Dottey, the Acting Country Manager. We had a great conversation with this passionate, knowledgeable and articulate woman and we were able to record some of it for use back home. One of the important things Rebecca talked about was that working together with the Churches in Ghana is one of their most important relationships and it was good to have affirmed the work already underway, some of what we had heard about while in Tamale, Northern Presbytery. We hope to be able to process some of the material gathered and use it at the various day conferences with ministers in March this year.
Back to the Head Quarters of PCG and an opportunity to meet with the committee which is the equivalent of our Local Development Committee of the World Mission Council (WMC). Some of the committee membership is drawn from the reps at Presbytery level – in the same way as we do with our WMC Presbytery Convener. Interestingly enough two of the members are involved with a congregational twinning in their own congregation and one had been a Faithshare Visitor. The parallel system is probably one of the reasons that successful twinnings are ongoing. We shared lunch together and Iain and I went full circle – having the same lunch as we did on our first day in Ghana. However in between we have hardly eaten the same thing twice as there is enormous variety within Ghanaian food.
In the afternoon, Fred took us to the nearby Arts and Cultural centre, a short stroll but by the time we reached there, the sweat was dripping off us. Mind you it did not stop Carol doing a bit of bargaining while Iain was being fanned by some African men! It was great to also meet the men and women of a co-operative for folks with disabilities and to spend a few Cedis!
This only left time for a short debrief with Rev Solomon Sule Saa and goodbyes to the people in the office before heading towards the airport, stopping only for a final meal together on the way. It was lovely to sit outside in the Ghanaian evening air, eating the ever-interesting Ghanaian food - but sad to think that it was our last opportunity to do so in this way. We certainly would not be eating al fresco back in Scotland at this time of year!
Rev Samuel Ayete-Nyampong met us for a short time at the airport, and we chatted as we waiting in the inevitable, and frequently chaotic, queue! It was lovely to see him albeit only for a short time.
Then to the goodbyes…..it is hard to say goodbye when you have had a very special time. Throughout our trip we have come across the word ‘footprints’ many times and in many contexts... We have been blessed by so many experiences and enriched by so many new and deep friendships that we both we believe that we are leaving Ghana with footprints of friendship on our hearts.